I pulled the two hundred dollars from my wallet and set it on the nightstand. The diversion had been nice, necessary even, but that was all it was, a diversion. I looked at myself in the mirror and barely recognized the man staring back at me. Too many weeks away from home left me feeling hollow and my eyes betrayed me to anyone who looked. I brushed the slowly graying hair out of my eyes and ran my fingers through it, trying to push back into place. I remembered when my hair was still completely blonde and it stayed in place no matter how much abuse was heaped upon it, but time had mad my hair as unmanageable as the rest of my life.
I was straightening my collar and buttoning up the last couple of buttons when I caught the eyes of my recent companion looking back at me through the mirror. It struck at that moment as funny that the prostitute in my bed looked far more alive than I did. For some reason the image of the world weary hooker from the grittier crime shows represented the correct image more so than the Julia Roberts like hooker with a heart of gold. Maybe it was the run down neighborhood I had grown up in and my memory of Mrs. Larson down the street. She claimed to be a massage therapist, but the rumor was that she was really just a prostitute with a nasty meth habit. Personally I think it had more to do with my well developed sense of cynicism. I could remember my parents calling me a cynic as early as fourth grade. I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, but as I got older I recognized what I had become for what my parents had labeled me.
Jeanie, if that was even her real name, had been recommended to me by my boss earlier in the week. He used to run my route before his promotion and was familiar with all of the best call girls in the thirty cities I had to cover as well as a few places in between. He was old school in a way that was old school twenty years earlier. He firmly believed in using alcohol and prostitutes to make sales which seemed to me like a horrible anachronism, but the man had led the division in sales and had made it to the Director position so maybe he knew what he was talking about.
“So you’re leaving now?” Jeanie’s voice cut through the fragile silence I had been nursing since I had woken up. It really wasn’t a question, even though she had been polite enough to make it sound that way.
“Yeah, I need to meet a client in an hour.” It was a lie and I’m sure it smelled like one too, but she was a professional and didn’t mind my dishonesty. The truth was that I just needed to be away from the cheap little motel room. Guilt gnawed at me as I looked her reflection in the eye. She was in her early thirties like me and she was certainly attractive, pretty in a way that got her free drinks at the bar, but not so pretty that she didn’t have to work at it a little.
I had only used an escort twice before and in both those instances I had been so drunk that I barely remembered the event and so there was no real regret to bother with, but this time I had been stone cold sober, clinically rational and driven with purpose. I had been away too long and I needed some release and so I did the math, figured what I could afford and called the number given by my boss.
She had sounded friendly over the phone and when I met her at the hotel she had indicated she was every bit as friendly in person. She asked me in and had me sit down next to her on the couch. We talked about nothing in particular for a couple of minutes while she ran her hand up and down my leg and then she asked me what I was looking for as smoothly as any salesman I had ever known. I told her simply that I wanted to experience as much pleasure as possible for the next hour. She had smiled and told me to undress and lie on the bed while she changed and that when she came out the clock would start.
What followed next was incredible and surreal all at the same time. I was no slouch and had been with plenty of women in my time, but Jeannie was truly a professional. During the next sixty minutes I never muttered a single intelligible word. My vocabulary consisted of grunts and groans, a slight nod or shake of my head being the only direction asked for or given as she worked her magic on me. At first I could only think of home and the guilt began to rise within me like a tidal surge of achingly cold disgust, but I forced myself away from such thought, making me detached and pliable. On the one hand this allowed me to enjoy every touch of her hands, every caress of her lips, but on the other it felt like a vivid dream where the sensations were every bit as enjoyable as reality but the memory of the pleasure was gone almost as quickly as it had come.
As the last minutes ticked away I re-focused my attention and stared up at the ceiling, Jeannie snuggled up against me, her breasts pressing against my arm, one leg stretched across mine, her hand tracing lazy circles about my chest. I was happy for those couple of moments, lost in the afterglow of an hours worth of sensational sex, an attractive woman lying next to me in bed. I knew it was all an illusion, but for the first time in months I felt like I could conquer the world, that there was someone who desired me enough to satisfy my every need. I watched the clock tick away as my personal heaven withdrew a minute at a time.
“Do you want to meet me here when you’re done?” Again her words shocked me back to reality. The room was too damn quiet between words and the silence drew my mind into spasms of introspection and reverie.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be,” I lied. I had no intention of returning. The guilt was becoming heavier by the moment and I could sense my shoulders starting to sag beneath the weight of it. I don’t know why I felt so guilty. We were divorced now. I owed her nothing. Yet I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I had spent the last hour cheating on her.
“That’s okay, I got the room for the night and unless I suddenly get a few phone calls I should be free for the rest of the night.” She stood up and walked up behind me, wrapping her arms around my waist, “you know I offer a discount for twice in one night right?”
“No, no I didn’t know that.” I was very aware of the closeness of her body, the smell of our sex still permeating the air.
“Besides, I get the feeling you were holding back somehow. If you come back for another round I guarantee you I’ll make you forget about whatever is bothering you.” Her hand slid tempting down past my belt as she whispered her sales pitch into my ear.
“I…I don’t know,” I was fighting myself, doing the quick math, making the equation that old involved numbers in a cursory fashion. More incredible sex at the cost of decent food for the next week, immediate pleasure weighed against the nightly pleasure of good food. “I suppose I could if things don’t take too long.”
She ran her hand down across my zipper and then released me with a step backwards, “fair enough lover, just knock twice and I’ll let you in.” I walked to the door and opened it, hesitating only a moment, but long enough for her to close with me once more. She pushed the door open the rest of the way and we stood there in the doorway, me dressed and rumpled looking, her naked and every bit as tempting as a man could ask for. She put her arms around my neck and rose up on her toes. The kiss she gave me was deep and soulful as any kiss I could remember. The hidden promise of more to come lingered there and the heat of it coursed through my body as I unconsciously put my arms around her waste and pulled her close to me.
When she broke the kiss she stepped back and held the door, ready to close it as I walked out. The look in her eye said that she could hardly wait for my return, and we both knew that I would be back, no matter how much I might say to the contrary. I was smart enough to know that her desire for me was a lie, but I am broken enough not to care.